The Design Sprint Facilitator Tips

Recently I had a pleasure to do a proper week long design sprint with a client, based on the excellent book by Jake Knapp.

Tuesday sketching.

After reading the book and before the actual sprint, I talked to a good friend and colleague Marko Dugonjic, who gave me tips and advice on how to best approach a sprint. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I prepared as much as possible — highlighted important things in the book, read sections again, but in the end I was on my own. I don’t have a problem with handling clients, on the contrary, but in this case it was important to follow the checklist and stay within allocated time. TimeTimer was really helpful for that. To make things more challenging, one of our team members was remote but with a constant Skype connection we made it work.

Getting your team in-sync is essential, which is why I was so happy with how a week long design sprint that Lucijan led us through ended up achieving just that: With it, we not only developed a clear vision of the new Netokracija, but also got the newsroom and business development team on the same page.
Ivan Brezak Brkan

As a facilitator, these are the things I learned and observed in the sprint and I’d like to share them with you:

  • Do the homework. Read the book multiple times if needed, go over each exercise, try to visualize what you should be doing.
  • Subscribe to the Sprint bot. Serves as a reminder and as a motivation — gets you in the mindset.
  • Set e-mail autoresponder specifying you’ll have limited availability during the sprint. It helps to explain why — link to the process. Some of the clients were interested in the design sprint, and asked in more detail about it.
  • Create a shared Google Drive folder for assets (or whatever you use for collaboration). Write down goals and questions in a document in case you need more space on the whiteboard. Take pictures each day and upload them to your assets folder.
  • Pick the right tools for the prototype and get in the mindset. If you are not sure what tool would suit you best, search online for examples.
  • Prepare a user testing script (word for word if necessary) and read it aloud to prepare before testing the prototype on Friday.
  • Send the questionnaire to sprint participants on Friday evening. As them for feedback (about how it went, their expectations and results) and keep it anonymous. Learn from the feedback and use it to improve the process next time.
  • Get plenty of sleep, and if you have work to do, do it early in the morning. After a whole day of doing the sprint — you’ll be mentally exhausted for any work that needs deep concentration, so don’t count on doing anything in the evening.

The most important takeaway from the sprint was not the solution we tested, but the opportunity to get everyone from the team on the same page about the process and the problem we are trying to solve.

That’s all for now! Keep sprinting, I know I will.

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